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Creating A Virtual Mastermind
What can a virtual genius group do for you?
High performers have long understood that they need to tap into the knowledge and experience of other people to solve problems and achieve new levels of growth.
One of the greatest examples of exploiting the experience of others begins with Benjamin Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin was a founding father of the United States and the only one to sign the four key documentsestablishing the United States He was also a printer, author, philosopher, politician, statesman, diplomat, scientist, economist and inventor.
Benjamin Franklin was not born the older brother with passing traits, as many of us see him today. He was the 15th of 17 children. Ben’s father was not a college graduate; he made soap and candles. He was a trader.
The most fundamental trait he passed on to his children was his love of reading. Benjamin’s mother realized that even though their home was crowded and noisy, she was committed to making it a healthy and happy home.
At the age of 8, Benjamin’s father sent him to South Grammar School, later called the “Boston Latin” school, preparing young Benjamin to become a minister. Two years later, Josiah ran out of money and brought Benjamin home to work with him in the candle-making business.
Apprentice at 12 years old at a printer:
Benjamin, loved to read and learn. He borrowed books from his friends. From these books he learned grammar, philosophy and arithmetic. Whenever he saved some money, he bought books to read and learn. His friends also liked to read books and they regularly studied the books and discussed them.
When Benjamin was 12, Josiah apprenticed him to his eldest son, James, who was a printer. The apprenticeship was signed for 7 years. (Yes… at 12!)
“New England Stream”:
James Franklin started his New England Courant newspaper in Boston in 1721 when his brother Benjamin was 15. It was the third newspaper in Boston. James and his friends wrote articles, opinions, news of the day, advertisements and other information.
The Beginning of Benjamin Writing career:
Benjamin started writing articles and asked his brother James to publish them in his journal. James refused! So Benjamin, 16, under the pen name Silence Dogood, (written as Widow Dogood, a 40-year-old widow). Benjamin placed his letters under James’s door every two weeks.
At the age of 16, Benjamin Franklin became the printer and publisher of his brother’s “New England Courant”. James had written an article against the government and was put in jail. The following year, 17-year-old Benjamin Franklin became printer and publisher of his brother’s “Courant” newspaper for the second time. James, this time, wrote an article “mocking religion”. Once again, the court decided to incarcerate him. James escaped from the city.
In September 1723, Benjamin Franklin had had enough of his brother’s “abuse and strict control”. He escaped by traveling to New York and later to Philadelphia in search of a new opportunity in the printing business. He held several different jobs during this time.
Birth of Benjamin Franklin’s Junto Club in Philadelphia:
At 21, Benjamin Franklin founded the Junto Club, a weekly discussion group of 12 men. Another name later given to his “Junto Club” was “Leather Apron Club”.
Benjamin decided that merchants should have the opportunity to receive an education, just like wealthy people who could send their children to study in colleges/universities.
The difference for him was reading books, learning from them and discussing them with others who liked to read, learn, improve and discuss what they read. He thought it would be a great equalizer. (Today we call it a “think tank, one brain” group.)
What questions should you ask future members of your Master Mind or Junto?
What are the 4 questions that Benjamin Franklin asked his future members of the Junto Club “to qualify them” as a member?
“Each person was also asked to stand up, put their hand on their heart, and answer the following questions”: (21st Century English Update)
1) “Do you feel ‘disrespect’ for any of our members?” Reply. No.
2. Do you “sincerely declare” that you love humanity, whatever your profession or your religion? ” Reply. I do.
3. “Should anyone be wronged in body, name or property, for his opinions or his religion? ” Reply. No.
4. “Do you love the truth and will you strive to find it, receive it, and communicate it to others?” Reply. Yes.
In the Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin, he writes “I had trained most of my ingenious knowledge in a club of mutual improvementwhich we called the Junta; we met on Friday night. The rules I drew up required each member, in turn, to produce one or more petitions on any point of morals, politics, or natural philosophy, to be discussed by the society; and once every three months to produce and read an essay of his own writing, on any subject he wished.”
It was agreed to have “12” members who “were traders and artisans”. The Junto Club continued for 38 years. When they saw a problem, a need, they found a solution. Education began with the establishment of the first public libraries in 1731. From the personal libraries of their Junto members, they collected books for the first lending library in Philadelphia. Learning by reading, educating everyone regardless of their financial situation. Benjamin Franklin’s education was the great equalizer.
After fires killed people, destroyed homes and businesses, Benjamin and his Junto members established the Union Fire Company, a volunteer fire department, in 1736 in Philadelphia. They also started a volunteer militia to protect and secure the colony.
Where they saw a need, a solution would follow.
In 1749 Benjamin Franklin involved some of his Junto members in the design of the University of Pennsylvania and in 1751 the Pennsylvania Hospital was founded by Benjamin Franklin and his Junto. When Benjamin Franklin saw a need, he worked to find a solution leading the way with his Junto members. Teamwork at its best!
Here are 3 things to consider when training your brain:
1. Identify your brain values. Will it be a business roundtable? Bible study? Marriage strengthening? You decide.
2. Limit your group to 6 people. Anything bigger than that and it’s unmanageable.
3. Understand that part of the brain holds others accountable. Be willing to give and take responsibility.
So, who would you like to have in your virtual brain and what would be your criteria?
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